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A. Venard to Thaddeus Hyatt

A. Venard to Thaddeus Hyatt
Creator: Venard, A.
Date: October 3, 1860
This letter is from A. Venard, a medical doctor from Pleasant Grove, Kansas Territory, who wrote to Thaddeus Hyatt, president of the National Kansas Committee. The letter described the sickness and disease that plagued the settlers along the Verdigris River in southeast Kansas. Dr. Venard had worked diligently to aid the settlers, even using funds from his own pocket to purchase medicine, but he requested that the committee give him 100 dollars worth of drugs. Attached to this letter is an itemized list of the drugs he wished purchased with the requested funds.


Aftermath of a dust storm in Kansas

Aftermath of a dust storm in Kansas
Date: Between 1934 and 1936
This photograph shows agricultural equipment covered with dust after a storm, possibly in Scott County, Kansas.


An appeal from Kansas!

An appeal from Kansas!
Creator: Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879
Date: December 14, 1860
This circular describes the beginnings of the Territorial Executive Committee, which was in charge of collecting relief to aid the struggling settlers of Kansas Territory during the 1860 drought. This committee met in Lawrence, Kansas Territory, on November 14, 1860, and passed several resolutions. From one hundred and one delegates were present from twenty-four Kansas counties. Out of this number, four men, including Samuel Pomeroy, were elected officers. The circular concludes with "Suggestions and Directions to those who purpose Aiding us in our Distress."


Appeal for the Kansas sufferers!

Appeal for the Kansas sufferers!
Creator: Foster, Daniel, 1816-1864
Date: 1860
This pamphlet, written by Daniel Foster, general agent of the New England Kansas Relief Committee, attempts to dispel any doubts about the severity of the nine-month drought in Kansas Territory. Many settlers had left Kansas Territory, and those remaining needed relief. Foster calls on people to provide aid to those in Kansas by contributing money or goods. The pamphlet lists names of people serving on a Boston committee who had met to discuss relief efforts in Kansas, including such well-known individuals as John A. Andrew, George Luther Stearns, Samuel Gridley Howe, and Thomas H. Webb.


Apple tree, Shawnee County, Kansas

Apple tree, Shawnee County, Kansas
Date: 1936
This black and white photograph shows drought damage to an apple tree in Shawnee County, Kansas.


Approaching Dust Storm in Middle West

Approaching Dust Storm in Middle West
Creator: Conard, Frank Durnell, 1884-1966
Date: 1935
This is a view of an approaching dust storm somewhere on the southern Plains. The photograph was taken by Frank D. ("Pop") Conard, a well known photographer in Garden City, Kansas. Dust storms, such as this one, rolled over the the southern Great Plains from 1932-1936, removing top soil from agricultural lands and prompting important changes in agricultural practice. The image is labeled #24 Conard.


Black Friday meets its master

Black Friday meets its master
Creator: Garden City Daily Telegram
Date: April 10, 1935
Several articles about life in the Dust Bowl can be found on the front page of this newspaper from Garden City. Articles of particular interest include two articles on "raging dusters," one on the winter wheat crop, and a brief article discussing the postponement of community meetings to distribute aid under the soil erosion program. The newspaper also includes articles about other newsworthy events occurring in Garden City and around the state of Kansas.


C. C. Evans to Governor Edmund Morrill

C. C. Evans to Governor Edmund Morrill
Creator: Evans, C. C.
Date: December 24, 1894
The chairman of the Sheridan County Republican Central Committee, C. C. Evans, of Allison (Decatur County), writes Governor Edmund Morrill to inform him of the desperate circumstances facing farmers in western Kansas and to ask the state to furnish seed grain to the farmers. Several years of drought and low crop yields left many farmers without sufficient seed grain for the next season's crops. Evans asks the governor to rally Republican legislators to quickly pass an appropriation for farm relief. The letter claims that Populists have thwarted local efforts to address the problem and that effective actions by Republicans at this time would attract more people in western Kansas to the Republican Party.


C. M. Ricker to Charles Morris

C. M. Ricker to Charles Morris
Creator: Ricker, C. M.
Date: November 6, 1874
Captain C. R. Ricker of the Kansas State Militia, Medicine Lodge, Kansas, writes to Adjutant General Charles Morris of Topeka concerning a band of Pawnee Indians. Ricker notes that the Indians are just east of Medicine Lodge and believes they intend to fight a band of Osage Indians. Though this band had not disturbed any person or property, they were burning the prairie. Ricker suggests that the burning is an attempt by the Indians to further destroy settler's rangeland already devastated by drought and grasshoppers. Ricker asks for instructions on dealing with this "friendly" band of Pawnee. The threat of an Indian uprising on Kansas' southern boarder in 1873 led Governor Thomas Osborn to employ the state militia and appeal to President Ulysses S. Grant for federal troops and arms.


Chapter IV: Destructive effects of undesirable tendencies, in The future of the Great Plains: Report of the Great Plains Committee

Chapter IV: Destructive effects of undesirable tendencies, in The future of the Great Plains: Report of the Great Plains Committee
Creator: Great Plains Committee
Date: December, 1936
This report was created by the Great Plains Committee, which had been called by President Roosevelt to investigate the effects of drought and wind erosion in the southwestern United States. Chapter IV of the report, titled "Destructive Effects of Undesirable Tendencies," outlines some of the major problems in this region, composed of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. These problems included the decreasing amount of range land, soil erosion, and the depletion of ground water. A large part of the chapter deals with relief efforts and homestead rehabilitation. It also contains illustrations and tables that provide comparative data on the situation in each of these states.


Checks on erosion and floods

Checks on erosion and floods
Date: Between 1930 and 1937
This unidentified newspaper clipping illustrates and explains four useful techniques for combating drought and soil erosion: planting vegetation on steep slopes, strip cropping, contour plowing, and check dams.


Cornfield, Shawnee County, Kansas

Cornfield, Shawnee County, Kansas
Date: 1936
This black and white photograph shows severe drought damage to a cornfield in Shawnee County, Kansas.


Curbing the wind

Curbing the wind
Creator: Aicher, L. C.
Date: 1935
The twenty-ninth biennial report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture includes this short article by L. C. Aicher, superintendent of the Fort Hays Experiment Station in Hays, Kansas. In the article ("Curbing the Wind" in Twenty-Ninth Biennial Report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture for the Years 1933 to 1934"), Aicher describes the most effective techniques for preventing wind erosion, stating that "the secret in preventing soil from blowing is to keep the surface in a roughened condition." He also gives directions about the best methods for listing land and caring for fallow fields.


Drifts of Dust

Drifts of Dust
Creator: Stovall Studio
Date: 1935
This photograph shows farm machinery covered with drifts of dust, Ford County, Kansas. The equipment shown was made by McCormick-Deering. The image was taken by Stovall Studio, Dodge City, Kansas, and it is labeled #3.


Drifts of dust

Drifts of dust
Creator: Stovall Studio
Date: 1935
This image illustrates drifts of dust in Ford County deposited during the raging storms that swept the area during the Dust Bowl. The drifts have grown large enough to smother the farm machinery, which has fallen into disuse since the drought. The photograph was taken by Stovall Studio, dodge City, Kansas, and is labeled #10.


Drifts of dust around a western Kansas farm

Drifts of dust around a western Kansas farm
Creator: Stovall Studio
Date: 1935
This postcard shows drifts of dust around a farm located near Hugoton, Kansas. It was taken by Stovall Studio, Dodge City, Kansas, and is labeled #13.


Drought relief cattle in Kansas City stockyards

Drought relief cattle in Kansas City stockyards
Date: May 1, 1935
This photograph captures one of the hardships faced by families during the Dust Bowl--starving cattle. It was taken in Kansas City, Kansas, by the Kansas Emergency Relief Committee, a state agency working to relieve the financial burdens of families suffering during the droughts of the 1930s. The KERC worked alongside the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, which began a cattle-purchasing program in 1934. Emaciated cattle (as in this photograph) were destroyed after purchase, and healthy cattle were shipped to slaughter with the meat being distributed to poor families needing relief.


Drought reports, Kansas Territory

Drought reports, Kansas Territory
Date: 1860
These accounts describe conditions in Kansas Territory in terms of the 1860 drought. Among the topics mentioned are the price of land (both in the past and currently), the number of settlers (often diminished from past numbers), the nature of crops, and available produce. The report includes accounts from Mosley (a buffalo hunter) from Greenwood County; an African-American named Buckner from Otoe County; Thomas A. Hill of Greenwood County; Rev. Henry Moys of Madison County; John L. Pratt of Butler County; H. I. Hunter, B. F. Vanhorn, Judge Graham, and Myrock Huntley of Madison County; Peter Welsh of Osage County; William Thurman; Osage Indians; John Jones of Ottawa Creek; S. N. Howe of Coffey County; E. Condit of Woodson County; and J. C. Lambdin of Butler County. One of the letters copied in this report is addressed to W. F. M. Arny, and was written by J.C. Lambdin.


Drought reports, Kansas Territory

Drought reports, Kansas Territory
Date: 1860
This document contains additional reports of conditions in various Kansas Territory counties during the drought of 1860. It consists of letters that W. F. M. Arny copied and sent to Thaddeus Hyatt, president of the National Kansas Committee. The reports were submitted by Josiah G. Fuller, James Whary, and Henry Brock, Eureka, Greenwood County; W. A. Harris and A. L Williams, Cottonwood Falls, Chase County; H. H. George, W. Wendell, and R. W. Cloud, Waterloo, Breckenridge County; I. P. Herrick, Iowa Township, Doniphan County; G. S. Northrup, J. H. Spicey, and A. G. Carpenter, Geneva Township, Allen County; and Charles P. Twiss, Cofachique Township, Allen County. The reports describe prospects for crops and other conditions resulting from the prolonged drought.


Drought report to Governor Landon

Drought report to Governor Landon
Creator: Kansas. State Board of Agriculture. Division of Water Resources
Date: August 28, 1936
This report by Ogden Jones, a geologist for the State Board of Agriculture, includes detailed information about the effects of the drought that struck Kansas during the 1930s and spawned the Dust Bowl. Jones cites precise figures about water levels in major rivers and wells, in addition to information about crops such as winter wheat, sorghum, oats, hay, rye, and fruits (apples, grapes, etc?). The report also contains maps.


Dust Bowl soil is now same as Chinese desert

Dust Bowl soil is now same as Chinese desert
Creator: Hubbard, J. R.
Date: August 9, 1936
This article in the Topeka Capital discusses some of the causes of soil erosion and diminished soil moisture, as well as ways to counteract these forces. Both WPA engineers and scientists at the Hays Engineering Station have been measuring soil moisture and developing techniques to counteract the negative effects of the farming trends in use since World War I.


Dust drift, Graham County

Dust drift, Graham County
Date: 1935
This photograph shows dust drifts by John Spark's house, Graham County, Kansas.


Dust drifted road, Ford County, Kansas

Dust drifted road, Ford County, Kansas
Creator: Stovall Studio
Date: 1935
Dust drifted road, Ford County, Kansas. Fences and utility poles are visible in the photograph.


Dust storm collection

Dust storm collection
Creator: Kansas Authors Club
Date: 1934
This collection of poems, written during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, provides insight into the hardships of daily life in drought-stricken Kansas. The poets' subjects range from harsh despair created by persistent dust storms to thankful verses about much-needed rain. The poems appeared in the Kansas Author's Bulletin.


Dust storm in Morton County, Kansas

Dust storm in Morton County, Kansas
Date: About 1935
This photograph shows an approaching dust storm in Morton County, Kansas.


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